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Remote Sensing

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Forest Management | Forest Sciences | Life Sciences


Requirements for describing coniferous forests are changing in response to wildfire concerns, bio-energy needs, and climate change interests. At the same time, technology advancements are transforming how forest properties can be measured. Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) is yielding promising results for measuring tree biomass parameters that, historically, have required costly destructive sampling and resulted in small sample sizes. Here we investigate whether TLS intensity data can be used to distinguish foliage and small branches (less than or equal to 0.635 cm diameter; coincident with the one-hour timelag fuel size class) from larger branchwood (>0.635 cm) in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) branch specimens. We also consider the use of laser density for predicting biomass by size class. Measurements are addressed across multiple ranges and scan angles. Results show TLS capable of distinguishing fine fuels from branches at a threshold of one standard deviation above mean intensity. Additionally, the relationship between return density and biomass is linear by fuel type for fine fuels (r2 = .0898; SE 22.7%) and branchwood (r2 = 0.937; SE 28.9%), as well as for total mass (r2 = 0.940; SE 25.5%). Intensity decays predictably as scan distances increase; however, the range-intensity relationship is best described by an exponential model rather than 1/d2. Scan angle appears to have no systematic effect on fine fuel discrimination, while some differences are observed in density-mass relationships with changing angles due to shadowing.


Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), biomass, canopy fine fuels, intensity